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Graduate School Spotlight: Pam Hammond

30 Mar

Pam Hammond is enrolled in Auburn University’s Master of Accountancy program as a Lila White Fellow and expects to complete her degree this May. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Hammond and her husband, James (also a native Texan), plan to move to Austin, Texas, this fall. With undergraduate degrees in both accounting and public administration, Hammond hopes to one day transition into nonprofit work.

Do you have a graduate assistantship? What does it entail?

Pam Hammond

Pam Hammond

I started the Master of Accountancy program in May as a Lila White Fellow, and I work under Julie Reece in the Graduate School. I do a lot of financial and administrative things that go on behind the scenes.

Why did you decide to double major in public administration and accounting?

Originally I was going to do political science because I was thinking about law school, but when I got here I decided I wanted to do some kind of business and political science. Then I took my first accounting class because I was in the business school and really liked it. A lot of it is thinking about finance a different kind of way. Public administration and accounting seem a bit random, but they actually go together really well. And I eventually I want to work for some kind of nonprofit, so the public administration definitely helps. But also, the accounting helps with understanding how business works. My background in accounting has given me such insight and a detailed view of how business works, that I don’t feel like maybe any other business major could have provided me as far as the financial aspect of it.

What makes the Auburn accounting program great?

It’s probably one of the few master’s program in the U.S. that you take your CPA during your master’s year. The way the schedule works out, the most people take is two classes. So they build the spring semester around you passing your CPA exam. Plus, I think everybody in the program already has a job offer.

What kept you busy during your undergraduate years at Auburn?

I was involved in the Women’s Resource Center as an undergrad. I was co-chair for the Chocolate Festival for the past three years, and this past year I was an adviser. Also, in Beta Alpha Psi (the accounting honor society), we all started a kickball tournament, which I co-founded, for one of our professors who got cancer.

What is your favorite Auburn memory?

My favorite memories are getting married on Samford Lawn and getting proposed to in front of my dorm. But I think what I just love, one of my favorite things, is just walking by Samford Hall when the bells are ringing at any time. I feel like the Auburn spirit is within me.

— Francesca Tully |


Graduate School Spotlight: Brandon Loomis

16 Mar

Brandon Loomis is a graduate student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and is currently pursuing his Master of Natural Resources degree. After graduating from Furman University in 2005 with his B.A. in Political Science and from the University of Delaware in 2007 with his master’s degree in international relations, the Maryland native served seven years as an Army Officer, including three deployments. From the experiences he had as an Army officer and his appreciation for the outdoors, Loomis knew he wanted to ultimately have a career in forestry. He is the first recipient of the Vick Fellowship, which was established thanks to a generous gift from John and Faye Vick of Andalusia, Alabama.Brandon Loomis 

After being in the military, how was it you chose to come to Auburn for graduate school?

My wife’s from Jasper, Alabama, and when I was in the military, Jasper was kind of home base for us. I’ve been an Auburn football fan for 10 or 12 years, since my wife and I met at Furman. My wife’s family is involved in the forestry business. They’re land owners, so I got introduced to that through them. Of course, Auburn has a good forestry school. That was kind of my No. 1 choice. The program here fits me perfectly because I don’t have a forestry undergraduate degree. I don’t even have a biological sciences degree. With the program they have here, I took a few prerequisites before I came here to get me up to speed, and then I take all the undergraduate coursework to get my license as a forester, and at the same time, I take 36 hours to get my master’s in natural resources. So it’s kind of a perfect scenario.

Are you involved in any research projects?

My degree of Master of Natural Resources to become a professional forester is not a research-based degree. So typically, we don’t do that. But because I have this fellowship, I’m free to go where I want with [research]. This semester, one of my professors is doing research in Tuskegee National Forest through the Department of Agriculture, and I’m going to start working with him there this spring. It’s a win-win. I want to take the resources I’m being provided as a Vick Fellow and move that toward what my academic interests are, and I can work for him and he doesn’t have to pay me, which is great.

How would you describe your experience coming back to school after several years away?

Coming back, just being a little bit more mature and knowing what I want to do is such an advantage. At the end of undergrad, I knew I wanted to go into the military, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I kind of figured that out, and coming back to school has just been so much easier having that purpose. I was definitely nervous wondering if I’d be able to learn as fast as I used to and retain things, balance a family and things like that, but all the ducks have kind of fallen in a row for me. Whether it be the financial side (there’s a lot of support at Auburn for graduate education, specifically for veterans, but also for everyone), or the academic side, it’s come to me a lot easier with that professional mindset as opposed to just being a student trying to figure out what you want to do. For me, it was the best way to go back to school, to get some life experience after college. It’s really just been a rewarding experience for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat do you want to do specifically once you complete your degree and are a professional forester?

In the long term, I’ve always thought I would probably own my own business — a land management business, timber business, some type of forestry consulting. In the short-term, forestry, like a lot of professions, isn’t something you can just know what you’re doing straight out of school. So I want to work for someone for a while. There are a lot of good companies in the South, especially in Alabama. But in the long run, I’d like to have my own business.

What makes Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences great?

Everybody’s been super accessible. The biggest thing I notice at Auburn are the resources we have at a big university like this. It’s unbelievable what you have access to as a student. I can’t think of another school that has some of the things we have: the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center, the resources we have on campus, and the people we have access to.

— Francesca Tully |

Industrial design graduate program ranked third nationally by DesignIntelligence

6 Nov

Zhan Zhang, a graduate of Auburn’s industrial design graduate program, is seen in front of Wallace Hall.

Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction programs continue to be ranked among the nation’s best. In the annual DesignIntelligence survey, “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools 2014,” the college’s graduate and undergraduate programs in industrial design and its undergraduate architecture program are ranked in the top 10 degree programs in their fields nationally. The rankings are based on annual surveys of leading practitioners in the fields.

Auburn’s industrial design graduate program is ranked third nationally for 2014, up from fourth last year. The industrial design graduate program has been ranked in the top 12 programs nationally seven out of the last eight years.

Hiring firms have ranked the Auburn industrial design program first nationally in the skill areas of research and theory and first in sustainable design practices and principles; second in cross-disciplinary teamwork; third in communication and in computer applications; and fourth in design.

Vini Nathan, dean and McWhorter Chair in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, said, “I am delighted that our programs continue to receive national recognition. It serves to support the high academic rigor and professional relevance of the design programs in the college. The extremely strong reputation of our programs is testimony to the convergence of our bright students, dedicated faculty and staff and supportive administration, alumni, advisory board and industry partners.”

Click here to read the full story.

International Wives Club fills serious need in Auburn community

11 Jun

The Graduate School’s International Wives Club is helping the wives of international students and scholars become acclimated to life in Auburn. Many of the club members gave up professional careers to move to a foreign country where they have no friends, a limited knowledge of the language and may not be able to work.

Club members typically meet once a week and swap stories while sampling cuisine from around the world. The club sometimes goes on trips to local destinations, such as the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the group had a cookout where the husbands and children could also meet and mingle.

Click here to read the featured story.

Rheta Grimsley Johnson delivers New Horizons Lecture

10 Apr

Auburn alumna and award-winning journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson delivered the Graduate School’s 2013 New Horizons Lecture Tuesday, April 9, in the Langdon Hall auditorium.

The lecture was the fifth in an annual series that promotes the exchange of ideas among students, faculty and the Auburn community through interaction with engaging speakers whose ideas and deeds have inspired others.

Click here to read more about Johnson and the New Horizons Lecture.

Auburn postdoctoral fellow is part of team researching ancient lake on Mars

13 Mar


Shawn Wright, a researcher and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geology and Geography, is part of an international team of scientists that recently discovered evidence for an ancient lake in one of Mars’ deepest craters, leading scientists to conclude the location may have been habitable for micro-organisms living deep underground.

McLaughlin Crater is approximately 92 kilometers wide and 2 kilometers deep, and one of the first things scientists noticed about the crater is a pattern of channels on the interior walls on the eastern side. All of the channels suddenly stop at an elevation located approximately 500 meters above the crater floor.

Wright and the team of scientists believe this level was the surface of an ancient lake, and the channels were formed as groundwater seeped out the walls of the crater. The crater floor also points to evidence that water was once present as it contains clays and calcite.

“The presence of calcite is significant because calcite is a marine and/or aqueous deposit, which is rare to find on cold, dry Mars,” Wright said.

Click here to read the full story.

2 Aug

Are you following the 2012 Olympics? Keep track of the AU Olympians here. We are proud of the Tigers who are competing in London!